On the fourth Sunday of every month, Journal Arts editor Adrian Gomez tells the stories behind some of the hidden gems you can see across the state in “Gimme Five.”
Art is powerful.
He has the ability to stop one in its tracks.
He also starts a conversation a lot.
Walking around the city of Albuquerque, there are hundreds of pieces of public art – each with their own story and purpose.
During the pandemic, the Albuquerque Arts Board stepped in to support various artist groups who were experiencing cancellations and closures overnight.
In particular, when the Spanish Market and the Indian Market in Santa Fe, which feature many artists from New Mexico, were canceled.
Many festivals and art fairs have also been cancelled.
As of summer 2020, the Public Art Program had issued four separate calls for existing artwork to try to help two-dimensional and three-dimensional visual artists.
Within months, the arts council had selected 84 artworks and helped inject $300,000 into the arts community.
“We’re so lucky to have voters approving general bond bonds because it gives us money for the public art program,” said Sherri Brueggemann, manager of art’s urban improvement division. audience. “We have four main artist audiences, which were the audiences that were reached by the Spanish and Indian markets. We have worked with these organizations to help artists submit online.
Brueggemann says the other two groups are visual artists and artists working on a smaller scale.
“These would be placed in government buildings,” she says. “We don’t usually do small sculptures because there’s a lot of manipulation for us, although it’s important to have these small 3D works.”
Brueggemann says that since the county moved out of city hall, there has been a lot of reorganization in the building.
“The city redid the hallways and painted the walls,” she says. “Once the project is complete, we will have spaces for each piece of art.”
The deadline for completion is in the fall, and Brueggemann hopes to host an open house over the holidays, which will include the convention center.
“Artists will then be able to see the 84 new works installed,” she says. “The city staff appreciates having the art so much. The public visits these buildings and the art not only helps give a piece of culture but warms the area.
The Albuquerque Arts Council highlights five of the 84 pieces.
1. Reyes Padilla, “Feria en el Canon”
Padilla is a New Mexico native known for using synesthesia, where he sees color through music. The piece is made of mica shales and acrylic on canvas and is located in the convention center.
“Years ago, I learned from Reyes that he was returning to his family’s property in northern New Mexico to mine his own mica,” says Brueggemann. “It was one of his greatest plays at the time.”
Brueggemann says the piece had an added mystical quality, and the darkness of the painting brings a new level of texture.
“I’m so happy this is a milestone in his career,” she said.
2. Darby Raymond-Overstreet, “Matriarch”
Raymond-Overstreet’s piece is a scanned Navajo textile, canvas, print, pine and thread. It is located on the sixth floor of City Hall in the lobby of the Department of Arts and Culture.
“Darby was one of the artists who had previously been invited to Indian Market,” explains Brueggemann.
Raymond-Overstreet lives in Chimayó, although she was born and raised in Arizona.
Brueggemann said she studied, worked, and created Navajo/Diné motifs that materialize through portraits, landscapes, and abstract forms.
Her work is heavily inspired and derived from traditional Diné/Navajo textiles, with particular interest in pieces woven in the late 1800s-1950s.
3. Mick Burson, “Stair Chair”
The piece is oil, acrylic and graphite on canvas. It is located in the Palais des Congrès.
Brueggemann says the painting pushes the idea of still life.
“Amazingly, we have the perfect place for that,” she says. “It’s in the convention center, where a lot of conferences are held. We often line up chairs and this piece is a great abstraction of how we think of furniture inside the convention center.
4. Natalie Voelker, “Davette”
In 2017, local activist Davetta Wilson sat for Voelker.
“Davetta has been a prominent community organizer and supporter for years,” says Brueggemann. “She did these projects for the International Quarter and now the piece will hang there.”
Brueggemann says “Davetta” traveled to the National Portait Gallery in London in 2019, then across Europe thereafter until mid-2020.
Brueggemann has always loved Voelker’s work.
“What’s amazing about Natalie’s work is that she paints everyday people and captures them in their clothes,” she says. “She is able to capture all of their ways.”
The pieces selected by Voelker, which also includes “Melissa”, are both oils on canvas. Both will be housed in the International District Library.
5. Cara Romero, “India’s Last Market”
The piece is a photographic archival pigment and is located on the first floor of City Hall in the Albuquerque Community Safety office.
Romero is a Santa Fe-based photographer and was featured on PBS’s “Craft in America” in 2019.
She is a member of the Chemehuevi Indian tribe.
Brueggemann says it has been an interesting process finding a location for Romero’s piece.
“There are a lot of subtle iconic images in this piece,” she says. “Some are not so subtle and that’s what makes it great. It hangs in the community safety office, and visitors and employees like it very much. It sparks a lot of dialogue, and that’s what it’s supposed to do.